Lots of hunters live in NYC

I was looking at a site for survivalists. I wound up there because I was looking for information about the history of cats hunting in the service of people.  One of the survivalists was interested in acquiring a cat to kill rodents on his land. He wanted to know if some breeds were better than others for the job. Most of the responders said mixed breed cats are the best. They also said well-fed cats can be good killers, and that depriving the cats of food to get them to hunt is silly.

We wouldn’t have cats in our lives at all if they didn’t enjoy killing. That’s what made them useful in the first place.  Then we turned them into cuddle-bugs and status symbols and companions, but before all that, they were assassins for hire!




What is this cat thinking?

Can you tell what your cat is thinking? As a cat groomer, I need to be able to “read” a cat.

This cat is one of my feline friends. I visit her several times a week to cat sit, trim claws, brush her and every so often, bathe her.  I have been her “nanny” for over two years.

I hold her in my lap like this about once a week, so she is used to it.  She doesn’t wiggle or try to get away. She certainly doesn’t hiss, scratch or try to bite.

This is a photo of a cat who is with a trusted caretaker, engaging in a routine activity.  This is not a photo of a cat who is scared, apprehensive, angry, timid or tense.

Photo on 3-3-13 at 10.54 AM #3
Notice that claws are not extended, pupils are not dilated, and the cat looks confidently at the camera instead of looking down.

The commoditization of stress-free handling

Stress-free cuddling?
Kevin Richardson demonstrates stress-free lion cuddling with his good friend.

Stress-free handling is all the rage on veterinary websites. Stress-free handling is old-fashioned in that it requires a return to craftsmanship, specialization and intimacy.  I predict that the concept of stress-free handling will become more and more well-known, but that actual stress-free handling will remain as rare as a vegetarian at a barbecue joint.

These techniques take time and patience, both of which are rarities in urban life. Every time I visit a cat, I attempt to provide stress-free handling. Occasionally I succeed.  Sometimes the cat’s stress level is so high before I even start that all I can do is work quickly.  For a quivering cat, the greatest kindness may be speedy efficiency.

Like the term “holistic”, stress-free handling will become no more than a label developed to appeal to the tender-hearted, progressive city-dweller.  All the same, a few advances in our treatment of pets may occur along the way, just as the craze for organic food did bring more fresh fruits and vegetables into the market.


Cat runs away when I wear certain scents. Don’t wear perfume when grooming a new cat.

I applied some “Sweet Melon” hand cream a few minutes ago. My cat Emma, who had been comfortably lounging on the table in front of me, jumped up and walked away. I’d never seen such a strong reaction to a scent!  I put my hands close to her to see if it was indeed the scent that was pushing her away. She moved away from my hands.

Scents can make a big impression on cats. I don’t wear scents when I groom.

It makes sense to me that cats might hate some scents. People hate some scents. Cats have noses. People have noses.